Monday, June 1, 2015


When I returned from my eye surgery (it went fine) KUSP, Santa Cruz had announced the next step to deal with its debt and programming crisis.  In a lengthy document, the KUSP Board announced six scenarios for voting members to consider.  The full Board document [LINK] required 24 pages of printer paper. 

For convenience the Board is calling the scenarios Pine, Maple, Plum, Fig, Walnut and Elm.  This choice would make an Arbor Day speaker proud.

But, I am speechless.  The Board's menu is an amazing governance spider web.  The process reminds me of an M. E. Escher lithograph. You can’t get there from here.

The Board is holding community meetings to hear citizen input about the six scenarios.  Then, according to news reports, the KUSP Board will choose one “tree” – aka “plan” – and then the larger voting membership – dozens or maybe hundreds of people – will vote on it.

That is what is known right now.


Things are probably tense inside KUSP.  So I am going to hold back on my comments and let things play out. Those of you who read my column, know I think Community Radio is often paralyzed because of its obsession with committees.  This poor governance trait is a major reason for Community Radio’s irrelevance and lack of influence. You can read more of my reporting about KUSP here: [LINK]

I sincerely hope this path forward works out for KUSP. Some people are probably having sleepless nights as this drama plays out.


I sent an email to Terry Green, KUSP’s GM, and have not seen a reply.  This concerns me because I know Terry and he is a standup guy. To me, his lack of response indicates that things are very delicate and he doesn’t want to complicate things by making comments to the media.

Here are my questions:

• What will happen if the larger membership votes against the Board’s chosen tree/plan?

* How many people are voting members of the Board?  How many people are voting members of the larger group?

• Several of the trees/scenarios rely on the notion of using KUSP’s translator at 89.3 FM – known in the Board document as the Santa Cruz signal footprint – to air KUSP programming after selling 88.7 - KUSP’s primary signal.

KUSP TRANSLATOR 89.3FM Santa Cruz signal footprint
In the document, the Board cautions:

But it’s important to keep in mind that as of right now there is no “Santa Cruz signal footprint” that we know KUSP could use.

Right! But, the Board plan continues to offer the Santa Cruz signal footprint as a valid choice. Unless a miracle happens, this process may take years.  Isn’t offering this expectation disingenuous?

• How much time does KUSP have before bankruptcy forces it to cease functioning?


  1. Here's a telling quote: "For about 15 years, KUSP’s operating revenue... has generally not met our expenses." FIFTEEN YEARS!

    These proposals are hilarious. They are sitting in the rowboat, completely under water, and they are still trying to splash the water out with their hands.

  2. FWIW, I just posted clarification to the plans that mention the "Santa Cruz footprint" as an option (and if Terry reads this, sorry for posting three times but the setup is that you have to comment on each individual Plan!) echoing your concerns that, as an FM translator, the 89.3 signal cannot originate its own must relay something else.

    Since there's no open FCC filing window to get a new, smaller, FM license in Santa Cruz (assuming there's room on the dial for it)...and buying an existing AM or FM license would eat up most (if not all) of the revenue obtained from selling the 88.9 signal, I suppose their cheapest option would be to lease the HD2 of an existing station. Or pay to have an HD transmitter on a local signal that doesn't have it, in exchange for free rent on the HD2. KZSC comes to mind, although I don't know if they'd be interested and/or already have an HD transmitter. Or require that the buyer of KUSC's main 88.9 signal put them on the HD2 in perpetuity, and if there is no HD2, that the buyer install on.

    WMVY does this with Rhode Island Public Radio to feed W243AI in Newport. It's a little funky but we make it work.

    That said, they're crazy if they think a tiny little translator signal that only covers Santa Cruz proper will provide anywhere near enough revenue to support any of these Plans that have been proposed.